The non-partisan team, Community Leaders for West Windsor, composed of candidates Andrea Sue Mandel, Sonia Gawas and Michael Ray Stevens, defeated incumbent Alison Miller, as well as Shin-Yi Lin and Yan Mei Wang, for three spots on the West Windsor Township Council.
Mandel, who led the polls with 2,701 votes, was followed by runningmates Stevens, who earned 2,569 votes and Gawas, who collected 2,446. Wang fell short with 2,305 votes, followed by Miller with 2,157 and Lin with 2,125.
All election results are not official until released by the Mercer County Clerk.
Mandel has been a resident of West Windsor for 30 years with her husband Richard. They have one daughter who attended the West Windsor-Plainsboro school system. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the City University of New York and went on to earn her master’s degree in industrial engineering at Rutgers. Over the years, she worked for five major corporations, becoming a department senior manager with a staff of engineers and technicians. She said she managed operational budgets, capital budgets, cost savings programs, design, development and marketing programs until starting her own consulting firm.
“I have lived in West Windsor for 30 years and feel we are at a crossroads,” Mandel said. “We are a good town with good schools; however, if we let developers run over us for a quick buck, we can go downhill fast. I don’t want that to happen and feel that my experience and knowledge can help prevent it. On the positive side, I have been part of various initiatives to improve the town.”
Stevens has been a resident of West Windsor Township since 1993. He is a parent mentor for multiple high schools’ robotics competition team, The MidKnight Inventors, from the first formation of the team back in 2005. He is a member of West Windsor Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1, where he serves as fire police captain and chair of the grants committee, where he said he worked to successfully obtain a $300,000+ FEMA grant to supply new upgraded breathing apparatus to both of the township’s volunteer fire companies.
“I have always felt that one should give back to one’s community, dating back to my earning the Eagle Scout award,” Stevens said. “This was further driven home to me during Hurricane Irene in 2011, when my daughter and I had to be rescued by the fire department. They began recruiting me before the boat came ashore. Joining with the men and women who choose to serve our community has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I was able to gain a unique, first-hand experience of the needs of the township and feel that the township council is the next logical step in my service.”
Gawas has been a PTA volunteer for over five years, serving on various committees and board positions including vice president of fundraising, Maurice Hawk PTA president and school district athletic task force member. She started Girl Scout Troop 70218 in 2016, she is a former school board president at Dutch Neck Presbyterian Church Cooperative Nursery School and a former trustee of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and subsequent work experience in business development.
“Community service has always been a meaningful part of my life,” Gawas said. “Having volunteered in the community I feel that I bring a ground up view to the challenges our community faces and bring fiscally viable solutions. Be it the school PTA, the Girl Scouts, the West Windsor-Plainsboro athletic task force. It gives me considerable satisfaction to give back to the community that my family and I are part of.”